Wednesday, November 6, 2013 -- Governor Deval Patrick today announced that for the third year in a row, the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) has ranked Massachusetts as the number one state for energy efficiency policies and programs. Governor Patrick joined ACEEE on a nationwide conference call as it announced the annual state-by-state scorecard.
Massachusetts continues to take an innovative approach to invest in energy savings, create clean energy jobs and reduce reliance on foreign sources of energy, while cutting greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
"Massachusetts continues to lead the nation in energy efficiency because we have made the choice to shape our future, rather than leave it to chance," said Governor Patrick. "We will continue to focus on policies that create jobs, decrease dependence on imported energy sources and protect our environment by reducing emissions."
The Commonwealth's energy efficiency and clean energy goals were outlined when Governor Patrick signed the Green Communities Act, the Green Jobs Act and the Global Warming Solutions Act in 2008. ACEEE again highlighted the Green Communities Act as a central component to Massachusetts' achievements.
"Massachusetts retained the top spot in the State Energy Efficiency Scorecard rankings for the third year in a row, having overtaken California in 2011," according to the report. "In late 2012, Massachusetts finalized its three-year plan, setting annual electricity savings targets of 2.5-2.6 percent through 2015, and natural gas savings targets of 1.08 -- 1.19 percent per year through 2015. These are some of the most ambitious savings targets in the country, helping Massachusetts to earn the highest score in the utilities section of this year's State Scorecard."
For the third time, Massachusetts topped California in ACEEE's State Energy Efficiency Scorecard. California held the top slot on the national scorecard for the first four years. ACEEE ranked Massachusetts fourth in the inaugural scorecard, but the Commonwealth reached number two in 2009 and held that slot for two years, before reaching number one in 2011 and 2012.
"Governor Patrick's strong leadership on clean energy policy has earned us this honor for the third consecutive year," said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Rick Sullivan. "Working with our legislative, utility, environmental and community partners, we have seen the economic and environmental benefits of pursuing energy efficiency as our first fuel."
Thee Patrick Administration has been dedicated to increasing efficiency and decreasing GHG emissions. Massachusetts has experienced a 30-fold increase in wind generation and a 90-fold increase in solar. In August 2013, the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) announced Massachusetts' clean energy economy grew by 11.8 percent from July 2012 to July 2013. According to the 2013 Massachusetts Clean Energy Industry Report , there are now 79,994 Massachusetts clean energy workers and 5,557 clean energy firms operating in Massachusetts. There was 15.9 percent growth in the energy efficiency sector alone, with more than 46,000 people employed at nearly 3,000 firms. Through the Commonwealth's first three-year energy efficiency plans, Mass Save® programs delivered savings equivalent to the annual electricity usage of 314,427 households and equivalent to the annual natural gas usage of more than 52,017 households. In addition, measures implemented under the plans reduced GHG emissions reductions equal to eliminating 289,584 cars.
The Department of Energy Resources' (DOER) Green Communities Designation and Grant Program, which is a result of the Green Communities Act, uses funding from auctions of carbon emissions permits under the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative to reward communities that win Green Communities designation by meeting five clean energy benchmarks including adoption of energy efficient building and planning practices. To date, 110 Green Communities have committed to a total energy reduction equivalent to the annual energy consumption of over 13,600 homes. In greenhouse gas reduction terms, this commitment equates to taking nearly 31,000 cars off the road. The Green Communities Act required investor-owned utilities to pursue all cost-effective energy efficiency -- making energy efficiency Massachusetts' "first fuel" for meeting energy demand.
The 2013-2015 Statewide Three-Year Energy Efficiency Plans, credited in the report, are expected to deliver energy benefits of nearly $9 billion to residents, businesses, and state and local governments based on an investment of $2.25 billion.
ACEEE's state scores are calculated based on utility efficiency programs and policy, transportation, building energy codes, combined heat and power projects, state government initiatives and appliance efficiency standards
"In Massachusetts, we are leading by example at the government level and creating opportunities for residents and businesses to reduce their energy use and costs," said Department of Energy Resources Commissioner Mark Sylvia. "We continue to support the expansion of combined heat and power systems, exploring new ways to increase efficiency and reduce greenhouse gases in transportation, and embracing building energy codes."
"In every region we are seeing states embrace energy saving measures with growing enthusiasm," said Steven Nadel, Executive Director of ACEEE. "From Massachusetts, which continues to be the pacesetter in the race to cut down energy waste, to Mississippi which is emerging as a regional star, state governments are proving that smart policy can still cross partisan divides."
"In addition to cutting greenhouse gas emissions and lowering energy costs, energy efficiency has proven to be a job creator," said MassCEC CEO Alicia Barton. "Massachusetts already employs 80,000 workers, half of which are energy efficiency workers, and today's announcement signals that we can expect this trend to continue."